Make Believe writer J. A. Belfield

Make Believe

My sincerest apology for neglecting to post this yesterday as I promised. It was the first day back to work for me and then it was go-go-go for the rest of the day. I don’t think I even turned on my computer!

Anyway, without further ado, I would like to continue doing my part in the Make Believe Blog Tour by introducing the lead writer in the anthology. She’s the author of the Holloway Pack stories, including Darkness and Light. Please welcome, J. A. Belfield.

Would you please begin by telling us a little about yourself?

Cripes, what did you want to know? Um … I just hit the big 4 0 in September, I have cats and a dog, a Mr B and two Mini-Me’s, and I spend my days writing and reading, and editing, and procrastinating across the ‘Net on sites like Twitter and Facebook. 😀

Sounds familiar! 🙂

How long have you been writing?

I actually only started writing in 2009. Had no idea before that point that I wanted to write, or that I could write. I just knew my head often filled up with way too many musings and dreams. So I wrote them down for something to do. 😉

You’ve done very well for yourself, then, in the past three years!

Was there any one incident that told you, “Hey, I’m a writer!” or “I want to be a writer”?

Writing only started out as a hobby because I had six hours a day to myself whilst the kidlets were at school and The Man at work, and I was getting a little bored of the housework for entertainment. As for when I thought ‘Hey, I’m a writer!’? I could say it was after I wrote Darkness & Light and, for the first time, believed I’d produced something worth sharing with more than just my sister and my best friend.

Or it could have been the point, around six months after Darkness & Light was published, when what I answered to ‘What do you do?’ altered from: I’m a stay at home mum, to I’m an author who works from home.

Saying it and sounding convincing took some getting used to it, though. I still kinda glance down and look all shy whenever I say it, like it’s a guilty pleasure rather than a career, lol. 

I hear you!

What types of stories do you like to tell? To read?

To tell? Well, I love to tell those tales that place characters in every day settings, with real life problems, but then spice it up a bit with paranormal twists.

As for reading, I’ve gone through a whooooooole lotta phases. Years ago, I was into Martina Cole and Robert Ludlum, Jeffrey Archer and John Grisham; then I discovered the intensity of crime fiction thanks to Val McDermid and Jeffrey Deaver—until urban fantasy and paranormal romance pretty much kicked those to the kerbside when I was loaned a Kelley Armstrong to read. And since then, I’ve been flying through as much YA and NA as possible, whatever the genre—PNR, UF, Dystopia (LOVE!), and even contemporary. 

I loved your story, Escort to Insanity! Please tell my readers a little about it.

Thank you so much. Escort to Insanity pretty much came to me after I’d read a story where a woman had met up with a guy via a dating agency, and I started wondering: what if it was an escort agency instead, and what if everything went wrong. Of course, the ‘what goes wrong’ had to be of the supernatural variety—though the evening does begin to look a little rocky pretty early on.

Who, or what, was your inspiration for Benjamin?

Ooooh, how to answer this without producing spoilers …. Okay, there are some scenes in the story where Nicole’s imagination conjures notions about Benjamin, and it was those that inspired his looks and even his name. Because I wanted him to reflect his character in its entirety. He turned out to be a lot of fun to work with. 

And I realise that may make absolutely no sense to anyone who hasn’t read the tale.

I’m sure! He really seems ‘scrummy’!

How did your story end up in the Make Believe anthology? (What was the process like?)

My Holloway Pack titles are already contracted with J.Taylor (my publisher). They approached me a year ago and said: Hey, we’re thinking of putting a winter anthology for next December and would love you to be the headlining author; you up for it?

So, within days of my what-if musings about escorts gone awry, I already had a home for the story and figured I best get writing it then.

As for the process, it was actually pretty straight forward—but then J.Taylor are very easy to work with. I had a deadline to get the story in (which I had to make some tweaks to because I only saw the picture prompt after I’d planned it out in my head). Once the story was in, I was sent some story edits to make, which I did. And the following months were then spent doing line edits, proofreading the galley after the copy edits had gone in, finalising the blurb, marketing, and getting to know the other contributing authors (who are all awesomesauce, btw). 

I know! I’ve ‘met’ a few of your awesome fellow authors on-line and follow their blogs. 🙂

Where else will you be, (or have been) featured during this tour?

The blog tour dates and stops I’ve been made aware of (hey, there are SIX of us!) can be found on the Make Believe Tour Page. There are more interviews, lots of giveaways to win a copy of Make Believe, and chances to meet the other authors along the way. 😀

Yes, I’ve been trying to keep up with everyone’s busy schedule! Do you have any social media sites that you’d like to share with us?

Of course. I’m always happy to meet new folk.

I usually haunt Twitter, Facebook, and sometimes Goodreads. And I post to my blog at least once a week. 🙂

Are there any final words you’d like to say?

Yes, I’d like to say (warning: Oscar like speech coming up!) a huge thank you to all of those who’ve helped make this tour possible by participating, as well as all of those who joined up for my Blue Moon tour (which happens to be running alongside this one. I’d like to thank my fellow antho buddies, because they’ve been great to work with. And I’d also to thank each and every person who has taken, or plans to take, the time to read something I’ve written—because that is always very humbling.

And if I don’t speak to y’all before, have a great Christmas and happy new year. 😀

Thank you for joining us today and best of luck with the rest of the tour and the Make Believe anthology. 🙂

Thank you for having me here. 🙂

It’s been my pleasure to interview you and an honor to help you all out with your blog tour! 🙂

Review of Make Believe short story, Escort To Insanity by J. A. Belfield

Happy Saturday, folks!

Today, I’d like to catch you up on the Make Believe Blog Tour and let you know what I thought of J. A. Belfield’s short story. First off, on Thursday, J. Keller Ford interviewed Jennifer Eaton, her fellow anthology buddy who not only has a story in Make Believe, but is also launching a seasonal Christmas story in the anthology, For the Love of Christmas by Still Moments Publishing. You’ll also find out what Jennifer and some of the other authors of Make Believe have in common! Jennifer’s story, Last Winter Red was also reviewed on Kaiden’s Seduction, in case you want to learn more about the Dystopian tale created by this talented writer, as well as the other stories in the anthology.

Here’s my review, with further links to follow below:

Escort To Insanity is a wonderful romp through Hereford and surrounding areas, just east of the Wales border. It begins with Nicole Harrington, daughter of wealthy man, who hires an escort to a huge charity auction that her parents expect her to attend. Her escort, Benjamin Gold, is a tall, yummy (ahem! clears throat) . . . I mean, handsome man, who demands attention when he walks in a room. I especially liked Julie’s description of another woman’s appraisal of him: “her attention roamed over him like a wave across a beach.” Benjamin plays his part well, jumping in with some impromptu quips when asked about their relationship and he was very intuitive and attentive to Nicole, going well above and beyond the call of duty, which I loved. (It doesn’t hurt that Julie’s humor is impeccable! 🙂 ) Benjamin was especially helpful in dealing with Cole’s ex-boyfriend, who was especially sleezy – everything that Ben was not.

After overhearing a disturbing conversation in the ladies washroom, Cole quickly drags him away from the pretentious affair – and then the fun really begins. Nicole discovers Benjamin’s true nature in a heart-racing adventure through Mersian Park and outlying areas of the city. I had to chuckle at her reference to the children’s song with the line, ‘If you go down to the woods today…’ Ironically, Cole does end up with a ‘big surprise’, but certainly not anything like the song or the nursery rhyme might suggest!

Although I don’t usually read this particular type of story, I quite enjoyed Escort To Insanity. Julie has a way of quickly drawing in the reader to empathize with her main character. I really have no idea how it must feel like to be from a filthy-rich family, but I think everyone can relate to the obligation Cole felt to do a favor for her parents, something she really did not want to do. As far as the romance part goes, Julie certainly created the perfect leading man for this story, as you can see by this quote: Cole was “trying hard not to get distracted by the sweet, sweet curve of his bum as it tick-tocked with each step”. As you may have guessed by what I’ve told you already, Benjamin Gold is breathtakingly handsome, strong and has a wonderful sense of humor, as well as a strong sense of responsibility for his friends, which comes out later in the story. Cole has her reservations about the man, but soon finds herself quite taken with him, until she learns his dark secret for which she is totally unprepared.

I highly recommend getting your own copy of Make Believe, and not just because of this particular story, which was enough to make me want to read her other books and I hope we see more of Benjamin and Cole at some future time.

All the shorts in this anthology are excellent, I must say. I will review the others later in the month, as well as provide interviews of their authors. In the meantime, I hope you will look forward to my interview of J. A. Belfield, scheduled for Monday. However, in case you can’t wait to learn more about this author, pop over to Kelly Said‘s site and learn more about how she (maybe) gets some writing done and what her workspace looks like. Kelly also gives us a peek into J. Keller Ford’s ‘writing lair’ , here. 🙂

Over at Terri Rochenski’s blog, Scribbler’s Sojourn, you can read an interview of Kelly Said, as well as Lynda R. Young, so please drop around to give them a gander.

Have a great weekend! 🙂

Make Believe – Official Kick-Off

Make Believe

Over at Jenny Keller Ford‘s blog, she posted a link for a Make Believe anthology give-away, hosted by Jennifer Bielman. If you pop over there now, you might have a chance of winning an e-book version of the anthology produced by J. Taylor Publishing. You can also read the blurb for her story, The Amulet of Ormisez as well as for the other stories and reviews.

Over at Julie Reece‘s blog, Julie is interviewing Jennifer M. Eaton about her Dystopian Romance, Last Winter Red, found in the Make Believe anthology. If you’re interested in learning more about the story, be sure to pop in on Julie to read her interview.

J. A. Belfield’s story in the anthology is called Escort To Insanity. You can find her blog tour schedule by clicking on the Make Believe button on the sidebar.

At Terri Rochenski‘s blog, you will find some reviews of her short story, Sacrificial Oath and she is offering the chance to win signed bookmarks and a signed cover, so pop over there to see what’s happening and how you can register to win. She even has a widget that will help you order an authorgraphed version if you’d rather not wait for the contests to end and want your own copy of Make Believe, available at these on-line stores: Amazon Barnes & Noble Amazon UK / All Romance  /  Diesel eBooks /  Books on Board 

Lynda R. Young‘s blog, Scribbler’s Sojourn, tells how excited she is about the launch of the anthology, which includes her story, Birthright. There is a brief blurb about it and links to her blog tour schedule, as well.

Kelly Said, whose story is Petrified, has a list of places where she will be hosted during the tour on her blog site here.

I think that’s all that’s going on with the tour, today.